tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC September 22, 2011 12:00am-1:00am EDT
good evening. our coverage of the execution of georgia death row inmate troy davis continues now on msnbc. the 42-year-old davis is scheduled to be executed within the hour. in the last hour, the united states supreme court rejected a request to block the execution, which was scheduled for 7:00 p.m. eastern time this evening. it was delayed while the state of georgia awaited the ruling from the court. davis was convicted in 1991 of killing off-duty police officer mark macphail. his execution had been stayed three separate time over the past 20 years. since that time, seven of the nine witnesses against davis have reportedly recanted their testimony.
some jurors have publicly changed their minds about his guilt. others claim a man who was with davis that night told people he is the actual gunman. joining us, coming up, will be rachel maddow, ben jealous, jeremy 68 hiskahil, barry schec. what is it like out there now? >> the atmosphere is very thick with tension. a lot of anticipation. i just spoke with a spokeswoman from the department of corrections here in georgia. she says they're more than midway through the execution at this point. she believes within ten minutes she'll get some word of the official details of this execution. this execution has already
begun. before she mentioned it would take 20 to 30 minutes, in the previous hour to get everybody in place for this execution to take place. now, we understand the execution has already gone through the process. now, we're just waiting for confirmation of the details and the sequence in which this happened. inside that execution chamber we understand there was going to be three members of the macphail family. we know members of the davis' family are right now in the so-called pit area, where they roped off an area the department of corrections made an area for supporters and troy davis. troy davis' family are inside that pit area right now. we're just waiting right now, anticipating some kind of word of details of this execution. as you've mentioned, this has been a very long struggle and very emotional struggle on both sides. on one side you had hundreds of thousands of supporters and protesters all in support of troy davis saying the recanting of these statements from seven
of nine witness is more than reasonable doubt for this execution to be halted. it came down to a last minute appeal to the u.s. supreme court. they denied that stay and this execution. on the other side, you had prosecutors and family of officer macphail saying this has already gone through the judicial process, this has already been litigated in a court of law. these witnesses that have now recanted their statements originally swore under oath, pointed and said that troy davis was the trigger man who shot and killed officer macphail as he tried help a homeless man. it's all come to a head tonight. the other side of the family, the macphail family say that, look, this has been a long process. we waited 22 years since he was killed. we are thirsty for justice. not blood thirsty but thirsty for justice at this point. now, we're waiting for official details and some media witnesses and hoping the macphail family
will avail themselves to make statements following this execution. >> what are the people outside the facility doing tonight? how are they responding to this? what are they doing now? >> reporter: ed, within the last hour, this crowd has been dead silent. throughout the night, we've heard kind of periodic hoorays and cheers and long lulls of silence. as you can imagine, so many people checking blackberries and iphones hoping to get information and somehow the supreme court would issue a stay. as the words came in and unconfirmed reports, there were cheers and long periods of people waiting and silence. now, there's a very very heavy silence that's fallen over the crowd, on one side of georgia highway 36, just to give you an idea, the georgia diagnostic prison on one side on the side of highway 36. on the other side is an everyday
truck stop, busy with traffic all day. lining this highway, hundreds and hundreds of supporters and protesters all for troy davis. on the prison side, we're seeing a full force right now, more than 100, i would say, of georgia riot police in full gear, ready for anything that may break out. we're not try ing to say they'r trying to intimidate the crowd at this point but they've been here all night anticipating anything that may happen, any outbursts and trying to keep everything orderly at this point. we are still waiting for official word from the department of corrections on the details of this execution they say it's already begun. >> thank you so etch. we will come back to you. joining me now is my colleague, rachel maddow of the rachel maddow show. great to have you with us tonight and spending time on this big story and obviously people been saying on this network all night this is somewhat of a turning point,
this is a case that will get a tremendous amount of publicity after the execution because of the way it's been handled and all the evidence that many people think has not been presented. a movement. what does that mean in your opinion? where does the conclusion take us from here? >> i think it's the right question. the question for many people gathered outside georgia, about troy davis the man, whether or not troy davis is the man that killed mark macphail and whether or not the justice system did in fact produce a justice in convicting him and broader sense and larger sense, a question about the dealt penalty. one detail of this i draw your attention, the means by which troy davis is being killed right now in the state of georgia. state of georgia like other lethal injection states in this country used to rely on a
cocktail called sodium silo pen that. when that drug stopped being made in the united states, its manufacturing plant was moved to italy. the italians are not fans of the death penalty and the american company that made that drug stopped making it. georgia was a handful of states caught out by the federal government illegally importing it from a fly by night drug distributor set up in the back of a driving school in london. i wish i were kidding but i'm not. they seized all of their supply and georgia had to come up with an add hock procedure for coming up with a new way to kill its shackled prisoners. they decided on a drug with the trade name nenbutol. anybody with veterinary
experience knows it is used to put down household pets. it has never been tested on this type of use or anesthetic in humans. the danish manufacturer that makes that drug says it should not be used in execution. and earlier execution in georgia was videotaped, the first time ever videotape, the first le shall injection videotaped so that could be used in lawsuits against the cruelty of this particular form of injection. the chaos of the death penalty in this country itself makes it a political issue. >> the way this has all unfolded, we're in a politically hot climate in this country with an election a little over a year to go, we have seen debates where execution was the topic of question and response by one of the contestants. does this shine a spotlight of special sorts, this case and the political climate in this country or is this conversation about the death penalty going to
remain the same? will it be heightened? will it be intensified, what do you think? >> we've heard so much attention this year and the past two years, how the right is evolving, how there are splits and differences in the types of conservatives in america and what type of conservativism is ascend ant in republican politics. if you believe tat, you beliehae there is a strain of libertarianism movement in this country, a suspicion of government that government should not be powerful and should be as small as possible. the power of a state government to kill its citizens is a power that comes vested in it, a real faith in the state's power to do that well, do that infallibly. governor rick perry of texas when asked about cheering for
killing the people in texas, asked about the cheering and the infallibility of the justice system. i think the chaos around the troy davis case and doubts raised about the -- whether justice was followed here, i think, raise a real question for americans right, left and center, whether or not we trust state governments to be 100% right on something they can't take back. you can't take back killing a person. >> do you think -- and i do, by the way, i do believe that this event we're seeing unfold tonight is going to affect a lot of americans and i think there will be a lot of americans rethinking where they stand on the death penalty. i also think a spotlight is going to be shown on the lack of resources that poor people have in our country when it comes to a formidable defense, and a fair trial. i think this opens up a whole pandora's box about what we're going to see in the justice
system moving forward. in case you just joined us, the united states supreme court tonight has denied a stay of execution for 42-year-old troy anthony davis. the execution, as reported moments ago by a reporter down in jackson, georgia, is under way. we should get the official word of his passing in a very short time. back to you, rachel. i really think that this is somewhat of a news event and gotten so much conversation and so many questions, and a miscarriage of justice in the minds of many americans, this is one that will make people rethink the dial. what do you think? >> we have not had broad contested partisan politics around crime and punishment issues during this recession, as a lot of people said we would. a lot of social scientists said as you see unemployment go up and see americans economic fortunes go down, you will see
crime go up and bring crime and punishment issues back to the fore of what we fight about as americans politically interest and engaged. crime and punishment hasn't really surfaced in that way. i think part of the reason it hasn't, since the last time we had a round of a real national debate about that, during the clinton administration, we have seen groups like the innocence project and others raise real questions -- >> let's take this sound bite right now. >> the coroner's van will be coming up very shortly. it will be a black van. media will be able to move up to get video of that van. at this time, we may have people who were at the actual execution, who may come out to do interviews. we will wait for them to come out and we will be sitting in the same area, if they do choose to do interviews. the time of death is 11:08. >> at 11:08 tonight, the
execution of troy anthony davis was completed by the corrections facility and the state of georgia. with me, rachel maddow. she will stay with us throughout the hour. as you heard the official just say there, we are going to be hearing from some of the people involved in this execution, explaining the process. the united states supreme court has denied a request for a stay of execution for troy davis. we will have continuing coverage on msnbc. stay with us. today i own 165 wendy's restaurants. and i get my financing from ge capital. but i also get stuff that goes way beyond banking. we not only lend people money, we help them save it. [ junior ] ge engineers found ways to cut my energy use. [ cheryl ] more efficient lighting helps junior stay open later... [ junior ] and serve more customers. so you're not just getting financial capital... [ cheryl ] you're also getting human capital. not just money. knowledge. [ junior ] ge capital. they're not just bankers... we're builders. [ junior ] ...and they've helped build my business.
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most wells are over a mile and a half deep so there's a tremendous amount of protective rock between the fracking operation and the groundwater. natural gas is critical to our future. at exxonmobil we recognize the challenges and how important it is to do this right. welcome back to our coverage. for the latest. tom joins me from outside the prison in jackson, georgia. >> reporter: ed, i can tell you just now the first van of witnesses pulled up, i believe, right now. these were the immediate witnesses now coming up to the podium to talk about what they witnessed. >> let's listen to them if we can. >> he made a statement in which he said he wanted to talk to the macphail family. despite the situation you're in,
he was not the one who did it. he said he was not personally responsible for what happened that night, hat he did not have a gun. he said to the family he was sorry for their loss but also said that he did not take their son, father, brother. he said to them, to dig deeper into this case, to find out the truth. he asked his family and friends to keep praying, to keep working and keep the faith, and then he said to the prison staff, the ones he said who are going to take my life, he said to them, may good to have mercy on your souls and his last words to them, may god bless your souls. he put his head back down, the procedure began and 15 minutes later, it was over. >> any questions?
>> we thought you each were -- >> pretty much, they picked me. we'll all do it. >> if you want more exact quotes, we can give them to you. >> that would be great. in front of the mike. >> i'm rhonda cook with the atlanta journal constitution. he said the incident that night was not my fault. i did not have a gun. that's when he told his friends to continue to fight and look deeper into this case so you can really find the truth. for those about to take my life, may good to have mercy on your souls, may god bless your souls. to the macphail family, he said, of course, i did not personally kill your son, father and brother. i am innocent. >> you've been to an execution. you've been to a few before. how, if at all, was this
different? >> there was more security than usual at this execution. there was more security than usual at this execution, but otherwise, it went as other executions have gone here. there was tight security but the prison folks here are professionals and they've done this before. it went pretty much as planned. i have the execution starting at around 10:53. he was declared dead at 11:08. >> how did he look? was he talking in a loud voice? quiet voice? >> he was talking very quickly. as my colleagues have said, he was defiant until the very end, maintaining his innocence until the very end. he spoke quickly and looked at one of his attorneys sitting on the second row, appeared to glance at the attorney, who nodded at him. mark macphail was sitting in the front row and mark was looking at mr. davis the entire time, it
seems. once he was declared dead, we were ushered out. >> how would you describe the mood? >> somber, how olympics? it was just a somber somber event. we were all waiting 4, 4 1/2 hours in the prison with no details on what was happening. when we were ushered into the prison itself, we knew th that -- we assumed at least the supreme court had rejected his final appeal. >> we saw two. the officer's brother, his name was william -- mark macphail jr. >> he maintained his innocence until the end? >> no. mark macphail leaned forward through the whole process. his uncle, william macphail, sat back and neither seemed to move at all. >> they spent the entire time just staring at troy davis, never turned their heads, never did anything but stare ahead.
then, when it was over, as they were leaving, they hugged somebody and seemed to smile about it. the macphail family, at least, they seemed to get some sat faction from what happened. >> who was there from -- >> pardon? >>. >> who was there? >> mark macphail jr., his son and the officer's brother, william macphail. >> what troy davis was saying to the end? >> he was saying he was innocent. he said to the macphail family again, he was not personally responsible for what happened that night. he said he did not have a gun. he said he was not the one who took their son, father, brother, and said he was innocent. that was to the end. he lifted his head up. he was strapped to the gurney when we walked in. when the warden asked if he wanted to make a statement. he lifted his head up and looked
at the front row where the macphail family was sitting and made sure they heard what he had to say. he claimed he was innocent. he was not responsible for what happened that night in 1989, did not have a gun and was not personally responsible for the death of officer macphail. i'm paraphrasing. this is what he was saying and then addressed his friends and family telling them to keep praying and working and digging into this case. to the staff, to the people about to take my life, may good to have mercy on your souls and may god bless your souls. that was it. >> did the macphail family have any kind of physical or verbal response? >> we couldn't see their faces. they were in the first row. we coiled not see how they reacteded to it. watching them, they never turned their heads or wavered the entire time and just stared at him through the glass as the execution was taking place. >> the execution was delayed four hours. do you know if he was strapped
to the gurney the entire time? >> i have no idea. we weren't there. >> did you see whether or not the davis family members -- >> i didn't see anybody. just the attorney for him. >> which attorney was that? >> jason uward. >> do you know anything about his last meal? >> that, i don't know. i don't believe he did have a last meal and i don't think he made a final statement when given the opportunity to record one. he did make the statement when strapped to the gurney, again, addressed directly to the macphail family first to let them know he was innocent. >> he did not eat his dinner and did not take the ativan. >> did he participate in a prayer? >> he was offered but he did not. they started the execution. he blinked rapidly for some period of time, and then he went
out. they checked him for consciousness, the warden came back into the death chamber, went back out again and they started the lethal mixture and the whole thing took about 15 minutes, 11:08, the warden came in and pronounced him dead. >> did he make final statements on the couch -- on the gurney? >> he was strapped to the gurney when we came in. everything that happened, he was already strapped to the gurney. we came in, the warden was in the room with him. another prison official, medical attendant to the side and troy davis strapped to the gurney. the warden read the order from the chatham county judge, asked troy davis if he had any statement. davis made a statement. they ordered the procedure to go on. asked if he had a prayer first, no response. warden stepped out of the death chamber and then it started.
>> was there any in the room? >> a member of the medical staff was in there and someone out of our eyesight to the side. two people. >> one was a medical attendant monitoring the lethal injection and somebody off to the side. once the procedure was over, two doctors came in, both used stethoscopes, one checked vital signs, eyes, pulse and the like and they nodded in agreement and that's when the warden pronounced him dead. >> this is a highly publicized case. what was it like to be a witness for this execution? >> somber. none of these are easy. it was very quiet, much more so. the only sound where we were sitting was the sound of the air conditioner. people weren't moving, there was not even casual movement. i think everybody in there understood the enormity of what was going on and acted accordingly.
it was very very quiet, very respectful and very somber. >> did he make any physical gestures? >> the lethal injection started at 10:53. he turned his head very slightly to his left, 3 same minute the le shall injection started. the next minute, i have him blinking his eyes a little more -- a little more rapidly for a very brief few seconds. i have him squeezing his eyes shut for maybe a second and opening them again. at 10:54, about a minute after the lethal injection started, i have him appearing to yawn. then around 10:55, started slowing down. 10:58, five minutes after the lethal injection started, they did a consciousness check to make sure she was unconscious before they start the next two lethal injection drugs that paralyze his body and stop his heart and after that, to the
movement except for slow breathing. we saw a county coroner truck pull up to the death chamber minutes before we walked in. i'm assuming it is going to go out in that truck. thank you. >> members of the georgia media, eyewitness to an execution of troy anthony davis who was pronounced dead tonight at 11:08 eastern time in the death chamber of the jackson, georgia facility. defiant was the word used to describe him. a somber mood, obviously in the chamber, as reported by jon lewis from wsb radio in georgia. and talking to his friends and family, a message for them to dig deeper and find the truth about what happened and telling
the macphail family he did not have a gun and he was not responsible for the death of officer macphail. i'm joined now by the president and ceo of the naacp, ben jealous, joining me by phone tonight. ben, defiant was the word that was used to describe troy anthony davis. but a very interesting message and following these in the past, it seemed that he had more to say than most people who are about to be executed, asking his friends and family to dig deeper. how do you receive that tonight, ben? >> you know, the -- i think he said everything you would expect troy davis to say. this is not your typical case. this is a case where man for 22 years contended he was innocent and that every year and recently everyday, more and more information has come forward confirming that. i first met his sister 15 years ago. i had my doubts. as i dug into the case more, as
she dug into the case more, every year, it became clearer and clearer she was right, troy was telling the truth. you would expect him to say those three things we heard him say tonight. you would expect him to say, i am innocent and you would expect him to say keep digging, a man of such deep faith and quite frankly grown close to many of the guards. there was a moment the other day my staff and family over visiting, the guard leaned in and said, please hold it together for the sake of us because we're all sitting here trying to hold it together. a guard talked about how his mom was praying for troy davis and for justice to be done here. these guards are human, too. the fact he would look at them in the eye and say, may good to have mercy on you for what you have to do, god bless your souls speaks to the strong spiritual conviction that he has. we should all shoulder that it's possible for the supreme court to be so fixated on the letter
of the law, the limits of our constitution, disrespects the spirit of our great country and actually lets a man be executed amid so much doubt, so clear to so many this man was innocent. >> ben jealous, naacp president and ceo with us tonight. the words that he spoke, "dig deeper," will this be a motivating factor in some sense for those advocacy groups out there that have maintains this is just a miscarriage of justice? what do those words, what will they mean to those groups and people who have followed this, ben? >> you know, the reality is that this affirms what many have come to believe, which is that, you know, it is time for us to question the death penalty in a way that's final. we've seen it abolished in three states the last two years, illinois, new jersey, new
mexico. if we can abolish it to two more, we can abolish it completely in this country and get them to catch up with the rest of the world. people were filing out in a special place on prison grounds for people supportive of troy and his quest to clear his name. people left here somber but also left her deeply committed. reality is right now in living rooms across this country, people woke up this morning knowing they supported the death penalty have to be questioning how can i support it when the instrument can be so blunt we can execute somebody even when the former head of the fbi says stop, the former warden of this prison says, stop. right wing congressman, bob barr, former prosecutor for georgia says stop and so many others. yet we push on blindly not knowing amid so much doubt whether we're doing the right thing or not. it is terrifying. all we had to do was see the
sentence commuted to life without the possibility of parole and the family would know that -- one family would know things could be reversed and we finally got the new trial we had been fighting for and the other family would know this man who had been convicted would not be on the streets barring his innocence proved in court. now, we have done something which cannot be revoked. we have killed a man. amid a pile of doubt. >> ben jealous, unequivocally, do you think the state of georgia put an innocent man to death tonight? >> absolutely. absolutely. i have looked at this case for 15 years, reviewed thousands of cases in that period. i have never seen a case like this. i sat with a woman today on cnn who was terrified for her life just a few months ago, fleed savannah, georgia, because a few
years ago, the man who many say is the actual killer, threatened her. excuse me, a few years ago, he admitted in front of her and many others he had actually killed officer macphail. when she made it clear a few months ago she intended to let the world know that and would support troy in his quest to save his life. he threatened her and she moved her entire family out of savannah, georgia. she had approached the media before but never talked about the daily terror she lives in and finally done that hoping that will give her a greater sense of protection if the world knows her life is threatened everyday. you don't see that in- >> ben, that seems like a terrible injustice there would be no one in our criminal justice system that would follow up and take action concerning the woman you're talking about. this is -- sounds to me like a horrible failure. where is the curiosity of the prosecutor in this case?
>> yeah. where is the commitment to justice? that's a very disturbing thing. the reality is, there's a lot of people that push for years to make sure we diversify law enforcement. here we have a black chair of board of pardons, a black d.a. in savannah. it's proof simply changing the color of the law -- you know, of law enforcement doesn't necessarily change the color of justice, if you will in this country. reality is we need people of all colors, black or white, who have the courage to do the right thing, and to stand up and say if there's doubt i will not execute. when in doubt we won't do it. we saw that from the former warden but not from the d.a. or chairman of the pardon dons.
>> ben jealous, president of naacp saying he believes the state of georgia has executed an innocent man. stay with us. somewhere in america, a city comes to life. it moves effortlessly, breathes easily. it flows with clean water. it makes its skyline greener and its population healthier. all to become the kind of city people want to live and work in. somewhere in america, we've already answered some
case so you can really find the truth. for those about to take my life, may god's have mercy on your souls, may god bless your souls. to the macphail family, he said, of course, i did not personally kill your son, father and brother. i am innocent. >> welcome back to "the ed show," in our continuing coverage of troy davis. joining us is allen alt, former warden of the diagnostic and classification prison where he oversaw executions for the state of georgia. thanks for your time tonight. please describe what happened today from your understanding how this usually plays out. >> as commissioner of
corrections, i was involved in several executions. it's one thing to talk about it abstractly but when you're in the death chamber ordering an execution, even in your mind, if you're a man of conscience actually believe somebody is guilty, it's still a very premeditated murder. it's scripted and rehearsed. about as premeditated as me killi -- as any killing you can do. then, when there is doubt, either way, it exacts a heavy toll on those who are being charged by the state to execute somebody. it has hit close to home since in the '70s i was a warden there and in the '90s, i was as a commissioner of corrections to e cute several people. to execute several people.
several of my colleagues involved in executions in other states feel as i do. now, i am a dean of a college of justice. that's ironic but i know all the research and i know how unevenly the death penalty is applied, the thousands of variables that go into it. i know it does not deter. if somebody asked you to wreak vengeance for somebody else, i think that's asking too much. all the civilized world except the u.s. have banned the death penalty years ago. when i was a warden at jackson, the same place that the execution happened, there had been a ban on the death penalty. it wasn't until 1974, that the first law enacted in georgia, set the pattern for other states
to enact a law that brought it back again. >> mr. alt, there's tremendous despair in your voice tonight. i appreciate your time very much. i have to ask you the same question i asked ben jealous. draw on your experience and your knowledge, do you think the state of georgia executed an innocent man tonight? >> i have no way of knowing that one way or the other. but i think that we have found so many in the last years with scientific advances that were innocent, that we continue to execute people when there is doubt, i don't think that has anything to do with justice. mr. ault, what about the unusual circumstances surrounding all of this? do you think that this is -- this case, this event,
this execution tonight is going to change a lot of attitudes in this country? >> well, at one time i hoped that would happen. we have presidential candidates who say that signing execution orders doesn't bother their conscience at all. but i still think men of conscien conscience, it does bother them. if people were aware of all the facts about capital punishment, i think logically, they would change their mind. logic does not always prevail, as you well know. >> dr. alt, stay with us. let's bring back rachel maddow, who wants to ask you a question tonight. >> thanks, ed. i appreciate the chance to do this. >> we're grateful to have you with us tonight. you signed on to a letter to ask
georgia corrections to reconsider and specifically highlighting the toll this would take on corrections officers and other people in the correction system involved in this execution you understand from your personal experiences the awful life-long repercussions that come from participating in the execution of prisoners. i wonder in terms of us who know and care about government workers and people who are public servants working for corrections departments, what you meant the kind of repercussions this could have for people who work in the system? >> in my experience, i could have stayed in atlanta, i chose to go to jackson. i didn't have to ask to do something i wouldn't do. i know we tried to get psychological and psychiatric help for all the people that participated. one day, i understood fully that i was trying to get it for everybody but me and then i realized what a heavy toll it
had taken on me and my conscience. i still have reoccurring problems with that. i'm sure i will the rest of my life. i've talked to other colleagues who participated as i did with other states and with the federal government. those people, people of conscience, had the same type of struggle that i did. if i thought that it actually deterred, and i tried use that rationale when i was participating, if i thought it saved one life, it was worth it. i soon realized that is not what capital punishment is all about. >> dr. alt, you highlighted in this letter to georgia
corrections officials today with other wardens of death row prisons, you highlighted the particular toll on correction officials when there is a case of doubt a person about to be executed maintains his or her innocence until the very end. i hear you talking about it, not maintaining it just about those who maintain their innocence. do you think that told to the correction staff is just about executing people even if there is doubt about guilt or innocence? >> it exacting a toll whether you believe they're innocent or guilty. you're actually killing somebody. now, there are people without conscience, psychpathic type people, some politicians and sadists volunteer. i had letters volunteer to kill people. but i think the state -- i would
hate to see us fall, to be that depraved they would let people like that do the execution. i have -- after i reviewed all the research, as a professor and as a dean and i know it does not deter crime. i can't see the justification. if we're just reaping vengeance for somebody, i don't see the justification in that either. i talked to a lot of families of victims who didn't feel fulfilled after the execution took place. i can't speak for all the families of victims, but i know i've talked to many. >> dr. allen alt and rachel maddow, thank you for staying with us. coming up, next, barry shechectf
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yes, he asked his family and friends to keep praying and keep working and keep the faith. then he said to the prison staff, the ones he said are going to take my life, he said to them, may good to have mercy on your souls and his last words were to them, may god bless your souls. then he put his head back down. the procedure began and in 15 minutes later, it was over. welcome back to "the ed show." our ongoing coverage of troy anthony davis. joining me now to discuss the legal aspect of this story is lawyer and columnist of the nation magazine,ary melbourne and joining us is barry scheck, cofound ir of "the innocence project." thanks for joining me tonight. >> were there aspects of this case that made it more of an
important one for a stay of execution and tonight's result? >> absolutely. one person said there was a change in key eyewitness testimony and one point didn't believe one thing and later believed another and prospects of a dividend suspect. the third aspect we have to hammer and you brought up repeatedly in your interest in justice issues is the racial aspect. the fact whechb yn you look the the death penalty is used in the united states and the way prosecutors pursue these cases, whether deliberate or accidental or direct racial annie mouse, the fact and dad is out there that shows the death penalty is disproportionately used many times against aftermaths. we have to way against other issues. you asked an important question
repeatedly tonight whether an innocent man was executed. as we take one step back, we know from "the innocence project," 273 people have had post conviction darna exonerations. that means science told us what juries didn't. they were not guilty. 17 of those people were at one time on death rode an lastly, 176 post conviction exonerations were all african-american. that all fits in and we have to press how this system works in the united states. >> i am so troubled tonight of the fact there is a woman who spoke with ben jealous, told her life was threatened and she had to move and she had been told by someone who said he was the killer and yet there was no one in the system that could take that information and follow up on it. that's what i find oh terribly
troubling, that that, whether this gentleman was innocent or guilty tonight, someone wasn't there to follow up on it with all of the different stories and evidence surrounding it that was not brought forward. barry scheck, how does that play with you, someone in this profession so many years and obviously involved in information coming out after the execution? what about this piece of information tonight, barry? >> ed, i want to add one important factor ailisted about this case, the ballistics evidence put before the jury in an effort to tie a gun and motive to troy davis was unreliable and should never have gone before the jury.
unreliable frick evidence. one of the jurors told the board of pardon and paroles, if she had known that blks evidence was unreliable, she would have never voted to execute him and played a lot role injury deliberations. i raise that because innocent project we have 270 post conviction dna exonerations and in many cases we usually find the perpetrator. 75%. a lot of them involved unreliable forensic science as a contributing factor. there are two very important cases that have to be covered in the course of this political campaign. one is the case of cameramaned to willingham that deals with a man governor perry executed based on unreliable arson evidence and percentage rouse testimony of a dell house
snitch. most disinterested legal observers believe there is powerful evidence willing ham was executed and innocent, but governor perry has been involved in a concerted campaign to cover up the fact the orson evidence was unreliable. >> the last person, executed, claude jones, we went back and found hair that was key legal evidence in the case post execution on that and showed it wasn't here. >> these are very troubling cases. >> barry scheck, i appreciate your time tonight. ary melbar, nationwide magazine, thanks very much. our coverage of the execution of troy davis continues.
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